Thursday 17 January 2008

Some polemical entertainment with John Milbank

No matter what you might think of John Milbank, you’ve got to admit that he can be a splendidly entertaining polemicist. Here are a few notable examples:

1. During a recent discussion at Oxford, Milbank is reported to have said: “I reckon you could reduce Derrida to 5 sides of A4.”

2. In The Suspended Middle (which I’m finally reading at the moment), he speaks of “the sterile interest of the ‘Yale School’ in the no-man’s-land of ‘history-like narrative’ which at once abolishes real history and ignores the essential allegorical underpinning of Christian doctrine” (pp. 58-59).

3. And my own personal favourite (thanks to Doug Harink for alerting me to this): In his online essay, “Paul Against Biopolitics”, Milbank has a footnote which refers to “[Pauline] scholars like J. D. G. ‘Jimmy’ Dunn (who appear to have spent their lifetimes reducing the great apostle to banality).”


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